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Clocker: Trio of Baffert runners impress
ARCADIA, Calif. - Monday was a perfect morning, from a weather standpoint (sunny, 61 degrees), for working horses at Santa Anita and nearly a perfect morning from trainer Bob Baffert's standpoint after three of his Breeders' Cup contenders turned in impressive-looking workouts, including Sprint favorite Zensational and Juvenile hotshot Lookin at Lucky.
Monday also marked the first local appearance by members of the imposing European contingent, six of whom were released from quarantine in time to stretch their legs near the end of training hours.
WORK OF THE DAY
Richard's Kid (five furlongs in 1:01.11): Although, on paper, stablemates Zensational and Lookin at Lucky probably have better chances to win their respective races, Richard's Kid gave every indication he could be a live longshot in the Classic following Monday's prep.
Working at 6:45 a.m., this little keg of dynamite broke off about four lengths behind his more imposing-looking stablemate Limestone Edge, a second-level allowance winner who joined the Baffert stable earlier this summer. After relaxing through an opening furlong in nearly 14 seconds and a quarter in 26.06, Richard's Kid began to pick up the pace without need of urging entering the stretch. He moved within a length of his target near the eighth pole before easily cruising by at midstretch, completing his final three furlongs in 35.05 before galloping out another eighth of a mile in 12.40. He is obviously very comfortable over the Pro-Ride surface and appears to be holding his peak form.
Mine that Bird (five furlongs in 1:01.49): Has been a little choppy when first jogging off over the past several mornings but appeared much smoother as he made his way around to the five-furlong pole to begin his work. Went along at a fairly steady and controlled pace following a 12.54-second opening furlong, posting a half-mile worth of near 12-second furlong splits before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.26. Nothing outstanding but easily the best he's looked over the past week.
Colonel John (five furlongs in 59.72): Put exercise rider Yuttah Lang to the test to prevent something even faster just five days out from the race. Working nearly 45 minutes after the racetrack re-opened following the renovation break, Colonel John was hard held yet still posted early splits of 12.06, 24.21, and 35.60 before gliding home his final quarter in 24.12 and galloping out six panels in 1:12.28 under a hold. He gave the impression that he could have gone much faster if given his head at any point and that he's holding his form extremely well coming into the Classic.
Allegre (five furlongs in 1:01.42 on the turf): Paid his first visit to the local turf course and turned in what could best be described as an easy maintenance move, gliding through an opening three furlongs around the dogs in 37.93 seconds before coming home his final quarter in 23.49 without need of urging. Hard to fault but facing an imposing task in this spot.
Zensational (four furlongs in 45.34): Had heard some pretty incredible tales regarding the manner in which the Sprint favorite has been training up to the race and as the old adage goes, "seeing really is believing." Zensational was obviously full of run from the moment he came away from the half-mile pole and former jockey Jorge Alvarez had all he could do to slow the freakish roan down. Posted a 22.33-second opening quarter-mile split, despite being hard held to the quarter pole. He was moving so fast approaching the turn his rider had to really cock his head to keep him from bearing well out into the stretch. Despite remaining in hand, Zensational breezed down the lane in 23 seconds before drifting out slightly nearing the seven-furlong marker to pull up five-eighths in a sensational 58.08.
Courageous Cat (five furlongs in 1:01.18 on the turf): Pretty much a slightly faster version of Allegre's work. He went off at a leisurely pace and then zipped home a final quarter in 23.50 under little encouragement. Has made a very favorable impression since his arrival late last week.
Lookin at Lucky (four furlongs in 47.35): For a young and still relatively inexperienced horse, Lookin at Lucky showed the poise of a veteran in a work orchestrated and completed in much the same manner as Richard's Kid. Broke off nearly five lengths behind stablemate El Martillo, pulled within a half-length of his target after covering an opening quarter-mile in 23.48, drew even near the eighth pole, and then pulled away without pressure while angling over to the rail and weaving his way through a bit of traffic congestion that had developed at and just beyond the wire. Galloped out an additional furlong in 12.83, pulling up five-eighths in 1:00.18. Undefeated colt will be tough to deny with his home-court advantage.
Aspire (four furlongs in 47 seconds): Full of run coming away from the pole, blistering an opening quarter in 22.97, but the hot pace took its toll down the stretch as he got noticeably leg weary coming to the wire and while galloping out around the clubhouse turn.
William's Kitten (four furlongs in 46.55): May have found a bit of a longshot play if this colt is well drawn Tuesday. Was full of run from start to finish and had much more left in the tank than expected after blasting out to a 22.58-second opening quarter without undue pressure. Still managed to shade 24 seconds for his final two furlongs while merely getting one little light tap of the stick from his rider approaching the wire. Galloped out five-eighths in 59.92. Versatile youngster really seems to have taken to the Pro-Ride and might just outrun his odds Saturday.
Bullsbay (five furlongs in 1:01.58): With jockey Jeremy Rose aboard, Bullsbay worked in company with younger stablemate Smart Bid, who will compete here Saturday in the Damascus Stakes. The pair went off at a slow pace, the opening quarter in 26.06 and then finished in 35.52 with Smart Bid maintaining about a half-length advantage over Bullsbay while under less pressure coming to the wire. The pair both galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.54.
Furthest Land (four furlongs in 47.60, according to track clockers): Well-travelled gelding went along under his own courage and finished with interest while apparently handling the surface quite nicely. Easy to understand why he is undefeated, to this point, over synthetic tracks.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
Jungle Tale (four furlongs in 48.60, according to track clockers): The first of the Breeders' Cup contenders to breeze, she was under a loose rein throughout from exercise rider Zoe Cadman, completing her final furlong in a strong 11.40.
* The first Euro sighting came shortly after 9:30 a.m., when the trio of Twice Over, a Classic hopeful; Father Time; and Mid Day walked once around the main track the wrong way. Father Time got a little hot and a bit agitated as he passed by the finish line.
A second team, led by reigning Turf winner Conduit, came out on the track about 20 minutes later. The trio, which also included Spanish Moon and Zacinto, jogged once around the turf course.
* Presious Passion (Turf) continues to flourish. He was so full of himself this morning, he began to open gallop leaving the backstretch the second time around, covering five furlongs in 1:08 from the half-mile pole around to the seven-eighths pole while out near the middle of the racetrack the entire time. Shaded 13 seconds for his final furlong into the clubhouse turn before finally coming to hand around the bend.
All workouts timed by Daily Racing Form, unless noted otherwise.
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